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Eventide (Plainsong 2) [Paperback]

Kent Haruf
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 April 2013 Plainsong 2

Harold and Raymond McPheron are finally waving goodbye to their beloved Victoria, a young mother with a first chance at an education. Betty and Luther Wallace are struggling to keep their heads above water and their children out of care, and in the same town young friends Dena and DJ find solace away from their own troubled homes. As these stories unfold and entwine, tragedy strikes the McPheron household and life is thrown irrevocably off course.

Heart-breaking yet hopeful, Eventide is an unflinching depiction of the hardships of small-town life, lit up by astonishing moments of redemption.

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Eventide (Plainsong 2) + Plainsong (Plainsong 1) + Benediction (Plainsong 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447240456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447240457
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Possesses the haunting appeal of music, the folksy rhythms of an American tale and the lovely, measured grace of an old hymn’ Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

‘Wonderful . . . peopled with individuals whose ordinary lives are invested with epic quality and truth.’ Niall Williams, Sunday Times

‘This is a novel that succeeds in affirming life without ducking its hardships.’ Mail on Sunday

‘Two taciturn bachelor brothers, a dim-bulb couple living in a trailer, a quiet preteen boy living with his grandfather, a social worker, and a young mother abandoned by her husband . . . The plain truth is you can’t stop reading or caring about them’ Boston Globe

‘Haruf’s laconic style – with nouns as strong and upright as fenceposts, the verbs as clean and sharp as razor wire – creates a richly symphonic effect . . . In creating a place whose people are tethered to each other by history and emotion as much as place, Haruf’s work is now competing with Faulkner’s Mississippi’ Chicago Sun-Times

‘Luminous . . . Haruf’s uncanny ability to stay out of his characters’ way is evident again in Eventide. What comes out of their mouths, whether it is kind, mean, ignorant, confused, intelligent or clouded by loneliness, is true and hard, spare as life on the plains . . . Eventide depicts a time, a place and its people so sincerely and so compellingly, with moments of such rare beauty, that the reader cannot walk away’ Colorado Springs Independent

‘Melancholy truths set to gorgeous melody . . . Haruf sings the second verse of his moving hymn to life on America’s great plains’ Kirkus

‘Haruf makes us care about these plain-spoken, small-town folks without ever resorting to sentimentality or clichés. Instead, he uses their language to capture the mood and mores of the town . . . His story possesses the haunting appeal of music, the folksy rhythms of an American ballad and the lovely, measured grace of an old hymn’ New York Times

‘Highly charged and compassionate . . . Every action in Holt casts a long shadow, and the gist of Haruf ’s story is what happens when those shadows touch. The results are equal parts grace and calamity . . . slow, deliberate, highly charged’ New Yorker

‘This novelist writes with such unabashed wonder before life’s mysteries, such compassion for frail humanity that he seems to have issued from another time, a better place’ Newsday

‘Haruf ’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed and bestselling Plainsong is as lovely and accomplished as its predecessor . . . And while there is much sadness and hardship in this portrait of a community, Haruf ’s sympathy for his characters, no matter how flawed they are, make this an uncommonly rich novel’ Publishers Weekly

'Eventide is imbued with an unspoken affection that transforms the commonplace into specific, intimate and moving reality' Times Literary Supplement

‘A kind book in a cruel world . . . Honest impulses, real people and the occasional workings of grace’ Washington Post

‘Haruf’s fiction, though emotionally rich, is delivered in surprisingly naked language; it is delicate and meticulous, but unembellished. The author fades out of view, becoming not the reporter speaking to the camera, but the invisible operator behind the lens. We are left alone in the world of Holt, watching and listening to the small warm hum of daily life, unable to tear ourselves away until the hidden cameraman stops the film and we step out, blinking, into the cold light of day’ Waterstone’s Books Quarterly

About the Author

Kent Haruf's honours include a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. His novel Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. He lives with his wife, Cathy, in the town of Salida in their native Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Three years after the author's previous novel, Plainsong, concluded, the author returns to Holt, Colorado, continuing the story of Raymond and Harold McPheron, elderly ranchers who lived in almost complete isolation until they agreed to provide a safe haven for a scared and pregnant teenager, three years ago. With other familiar characters from Plainsong also returning in minor roles, the novel then broadens to focus on three additional families, whose new stories the author deftly juggles and interweaves. Somewhat more thoughtful and complex than Plainsong, Eventide quickly engages the reader with its unpretentious style, revealing dialogue, and often heart-tugging scenes of difficult lives.
Luther and Betty June Wallace are some of Haruf's most beautifully drawn characters. Extremely limited in their understanding, they receive professional assistance in everything from budgeting to parenting classes, anger management, and lessons in cleanliness. DJ Kephart, a small eleven-year-old whose responsibilities make him seem much older, is an orphan, now living with his elderly, often bed-ridden, grandfather, for whom he does all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. He and his neighborhood friends, Dena and Emma Wells, whose father is in Alaska, spend their free time turning an abandoned shed into a playhouse, a peaceful, make-believe home where adults do not intrude. Suddenly, separate acts of fate, involving the McPheron brothers and each of these three families, upend all their lives and set in motion a series of events which will change them forever.
Death, illness, injury, abandonment, abuse, and the arbitrary harshness of fate all contribute to emotional crises the characters must find the strength to overcome.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Same quality as "Plainsong": Excellent! 27 May 2005
In the previous novel in this set, Haruf clearly showed that he is a master storyteller. He chose a simple plot, which was seemingly as plain as the title, but he reached the reader's heart with his artistry. In "Eventide", he goes a step farther, by building on what he created and delivering a story with more shocking events, but just as good.
Victoria, the young girl who delivered her baby girl at the conclusion of "Plainsong", has played an important role in the life of the old brothers McPheron. And they have gotten used to having her and Katie around, but now Victoria is leaving them to go to college, and they have to face their newfound solitude. But they seem to be managing OK, until disaster strikes, and the only tool for survival becomes resorting to the power of love and friendship.
In order to give some variety, Haruf assigns a less prominent role to Tom Guthrey and his kids, characters that were central to "Plainsong". Instead, he presents a family that has conflicts to spare, a mature boy that has to take care of his grandfather, and a woman with two girls abandoned by her husband.
Once more, the author shows a marked ability for describing human emotions and to present everyday situations with such passion and skill that the reader cannot help feeling immersed in the novel. In that way, we get to share the problems, sadness, desperation and joy of the main characters as if the events were affecting ourselves or those we love. These are some of the reasons why I believe this is one of the best novels I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The extraordinary and the ordinary 14 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In every way this book lives up to the promise of "Plainsong". It is equally amazing in its skill in presenting the lives of ordinary people, often taciturn like Raymond and Harold or of limited articulacy like Betty and Luther. Without lapsing into sentimentality, and with a self-effacing recording of the simple events of everyday life in a small Colorado community, Kent Haruf engages our feelings at some considerable depth. There is such a powerful sense of actuality that we are drawn slowly but relentlessly into the lives of his characters. As he never condescends towards them, neither do we. Indeed, we are often caught unawares by the depth and sharpness of feeling that his characters experience and that we share. The different ways in which they come to terms with both the challenges and the limitations of their lives is sometimes painful, often heartening and never less than fascinating. A very fine book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful and moving book 2 Feb 2009
By Nicky
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was really moved by the characters in Plainsong, so when I finished reading I was glad I had bought the sequel. We meet more characters in this book, but it retains its vivid sense of place and its realism. There is tragedy, but also the sense that life carries on, and that good hearted people do the best they can. One of my favourite books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I like Kent Haruf's style 14 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like Kent Haruf's style. He allows one to review the every day minutiae of living & appreciate how all one's behaviour and habits can have a deeper significance when seen in total. He does this without having recourse to "purple passages" or literary rhetoric, but by using the language of everyday people he builds up a gripping emotive tale. I feel he has a lot in common with some of Faulkner's writing. A pleasure to read.
It is not for everyone but would appeal to those who enjoy reflecting about loneliness , isolation and what shapes the human psyche. English students should read it for the style & use of language.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
Good follow on where characters developed more fully. Enjoyable but predictable
Published 2 days ago by PM Hounsell
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Having read Plainsong a few times over a few years, I finally moved on in the series.
Eventide is another wonderful slice of mid-West life, told in KH's simple style. Read more
Published 3 months ago by W. Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful slow paced story
This book is part of a trilogy a wonderful slow paced story set in small town America. The characters are superbly drawn and believable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Macc Lass
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Trilogy
Another beautifully written book by Kent Haruf. This was last of the trilogy and also the least captivating. The story was really about the end of the life of Dad. Read more
Published 5 months ago by gillyp
4.0 out of 5 stars A niggling not really sure
I arrived at this third of the Kent Haruf books having really enjoyed the other two. It is beautifully written in the spare, plain speaking prose which has the effect of making... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rick O' Shea
5.0 out of 5 stars poetry in prose
Kent Haruf's second tale of Holt County is as compelling as his first, Plainsong. A joy to read, his characters are so well delineated by his beautiful but spare prose that they... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Adenian
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT
Once again a beautifully written story of life in a small town in Colorado.
Beautifully written,moving and a highly recommended conclusion to this wonderful trilogy. Read more
Published 6 months ago by stevros
4.0 out of 5 stars as good
I have read all of Kent Harufs' works and this is the welcome sequel to Plainsong. He captures small town lives and human frailties so tenderly. Good stories well told.
Published 9 months ago by mrs. Julia A. Burnett
5.0 out of 5 stars great
The writing is superb. The characters are brilliantly observed. Lovely book I'm looking forward to the next part of the story
Published 14 months ago by Stephen Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Hadn't read any previous books by this author. I thought it was well written and thoughtful in it's subject. to be recommended.
Published 14 months ago by nannyP
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